Former Infinity Ward creative strategist Robert Bowling may have his sights on the post-apocalyptic epic Human Element due in 2015, but until then his new studio Robotoki is crowdsourcing its maiden game The Adventures of Dash on Kickstarter.
The Adventures of Dash is a 2D puzzle platformer that follows the exploits of the titular narcoleptic nine-year-old. Whenever Dash snoozes he'll enter a dream state where you'll take control of whatever identity Dash's subconscious assumes while his environment will be loosely inspired by the real-world setting he dozed off in. Intriguingly, each level will have its own aesthetic with a completely different artist in charge of it. The actual gameplay mechanics will change too, though the main components seem to be based around puzzle solving, platforming and combat.
"What always frustrated me working on Call of Duty or even our own Human Element, was that hiring any of these artists I loved meant one thing, forcing them into an art style to fit with the game universe we were working on," said Bowling on the Kickstarter. "It resulted in stripping away everything I loved about them in the first place, their personality, and personal style was lost in the universe of the game. Why should we adapt an artist to the game, when the game can adapt to the artist?"
While the dream worlds take on several surreal qualities, the awake reality is more consistent and resembles Scribblenauts, only scribblier.
Beyond Bowling, Robotoki has a pretty good pedigree with artists from Batman: Arkham City, the senior tech designer on Modern Warfare 3 and the composer who scored Super Meat Boy on staff.
Part of the project's rather large $400,000 budget is to fund a feature-length documentary on the creation of Robotoki. This is the exact same amount Double Fine was asking for to develop a game and studio documentary, but I'm not confident Bowling and Robotoki have the same draw as Schafer and Double Fine. Then again, it doesn't need to come close to that wildly successful Kickstarter in order to meet its goal.
Backers who donate $15 will receive a DRM-free digital copy of The Adventures of Dash on PC, Mac or Linux along with the soundtrack, while pledges of $25 will receive a copy of the documentary as well, and $100 donations will grant backers all of the above along with early access to the Human Element beta and a strategy guide.
As of now the total is up to $1,618 with 29 days to go before the 3rd April deadline.
The Adventures of Dash is due this November on PC, Mac, Linux, Ouya and other consoles. iOS and Android versions are expected to follow.